Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing — Baltimore, Maryland

Daniel J. Sheridan, PhD, RN, FAAN, brought the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in 2001. Hopkins’ nursing and public health students hosted Purple Hands Pledge® events locally and internationally until Dr. Sheridan retired as an Associate Professor in 2013. 

In 1995, Dr. Sheridan was a keynote speaker at the First Annual Domestic Violence Conference for Professionals held at Oregon’s Salem Hospital where, just two years later, in 1997 the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® was founded. 

At National and International conferences, Dr. Sheridan, one of the world’s leading authorities in forensic nursing, continues to be a powerful advocate in promoting the Purple Hands Pledge®. 

Daniel J. Sheridan, PhD, RN, FAAN

A message from Ann S.  Kelly, Founder/Executive Director – Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®

My heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Dan Sheridan for his steadfast belief in the power of the Purple Hands Pledge®.
We are perfect partners in education! Over the years, several of your graduates have contacted me and implemented our program in their hospitals, clinics, and community education programs. 

Thank you to Hopkins’ nurses that were inspired by the positive impact they witnessed when teaching the Purple Hands Pledge® in a variety of venues. Following in the footsteps of Dr. Sheridan, carrying the Purple Hands Pledge® forward in your nursing careers ensures that our message will reach another generation. 

Pictured left to right: Robert R. Kelly, MD, Ann S. Kelly Founder/Director Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®, Charity Kreider, MPH, & Daniel Sheridan, PhD, RN, FAAN. Ann was invited to present the Purple Hands Pledge® to inspire positive action within public health education.

Robert R. Kelly MD (left) & Daniel Sheridan PhD, RN, FAAN (right)

Nursing Student & Dr. Sheridan pose with university student’s
Purple Hands Pledges

Nursing students help create the Purple Hands Display at the
School of Nursing 

Ann S. Kelly, Founder/Director Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®, and Robert Kelly MD alongside the Purple Hands Pledge® display

Nursing student poses with the Purple Hands Pledge® display
at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

International Outreach — St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands 

“The middle schoolers in St. Croix were still in shock and mourning. Just days before a group of Johns Hopkins nursing students arrived at their school, the young students had suffered a devastating loss—a teacher had been murdered by her partner…” 

Read Hopkins Student Nurses Report Here

“Encouraging middle school students to talk about violence in a group setting enabled them not only to open up about their personal experiences but to own the responsibility and power they have to prevent violence. Introducing the Hands Project to these students was very effective: they were eager to talk about their experiences and receptive to taking the pledge as a group. When tracing their hands, some students even wrote personal messages about the importance of violence prevention. Utilizing the Hands Project was a very powerful medium for working towards a more peaceful, healthy environment for these students.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I thought our efforts in St. Croix planted a seed for future initiatives against violence and opened the door for future Purple Hands Projects to truly make a difference in a community that needs an alternative to violence.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“The students were very responsive and the Purple Hands Project did help empower them. It allowed them to realize that one person can make a difference by doing something as small as walking away from a fight.” 

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I was amazed at how responsive the kids in St. Croix were to the Hands Project.  Many of the students participated in discussions about how violence affected them.  I think getting students to talk and understand the “Power of One” goes a long way.  Some students were not able to pledge that they would not use their hands to defend themselves, but they said they would not use their hands or words to initiate problems. The Hands Project initiates discussion that many people try to avoid and it is a start to a violence-free community.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I enjoyed doing the Purple Hands Project because the students had a lot to say about violence and how they are personally affected by it. It is possible that the Hands Project is one of the first steps in decreasing violence.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

I think the Hands Project really allowed for open and honest discussions about violence to be started.  Maybe in a year or two, the conversations we had with the students will result in behavior changes.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“Mary Smith, the school nurse at Elena Christian, said at the end of our presentation that she and the guidance counselor, Ms. Hewitt, were going to run a similar program in the fall. This was viewed as a big accomplishment by our group as sustainability was one of our goals (and the goal we didn’t think we would achieve based on the information we received from Ms. Smith prior to arriving on the island.)”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“As nurses [in the U.S.], we see that violence is our job, abuse is our job, and we should be dealing with it,” Douglas said. “The culture [in St. Croix] is different, but I think we initiated a conversation that needed to be happening. It seems as though they are opening to change.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I found that the project held students’ attention and enthusiasm well in addition to appealing to many groups across the lifespan. It addresses the universal need for safety in people’s lives.”

Helen S. Thomas MS, RN,CPNP (retired), Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

Johns Hopkins Nursing Students Outreach: 
500+ Students & Individuals reached

Purple Hands Pledge® Booth: Agricultural Fair
Elena Christian Junior High
Arthur Richards
Senior Housing of Lutheran Social Services